Plum Tree National Wine, Jazz & Artistic Music Festival had an abrupt cancellation by management with no explanation. This might be the first time in the 14-year history of Chicago Jazz Magazine that we have had this type of situation come up with an event that CJM was sponsoring. The abrupt cancelation of the Wine, Jazz and Artistic Music Festival that was to take place at the Plum Tree National Golf Course in Harvard, Ill., on June 10-11 not only effected the artists who were scheduled to perform, but also readers of Chicago Jazz Magazine and ChicagoJazz.com, who were planning on attending. I thought it would be only right to explain the situation to you since CJM helped to promote and sponsor the festival.
When Chicago Jazz Magazine was approached about becoming a sponsor and helping to promote the festival, we thought it was a great opportunity to support a new endeavor and help to bring live jazz to an area that doesn’t normally have jazz performances. We met with Tminus10 Partners, the company that was helping with production and programming, and with the owner of the Portage Theater Group, who recently purchased Plum Tree National, Eddie Carranza, about helping to promote the festival and becoming a sponsor. The enthusiasm to develop a new festival in Harvard, Ill., that would feature jazz music and other elements of the arts was very evident by both Carranza and Tminus10 Partners, so CJM agreed to become a sponsor of the festival. Leading up to the festival everything seemed to be going in a very positive direction. The performance schedule was announced which featured established Chicago names, along with a couple of regional artists, further lending credibility to the vision that Carranza had laid out in his overall plan to use the Plum Tree National Wine, Jazz and Artistic Music Festival as a starting point for bigger and better events in the future.
As the festival grew closer, everything seemed to be going smoothly and there didn’t seem to be any indications that the event was in jeopardy of being canceled. That is why on June 8, just two days ahead of the festival, I was shocked to learn that Carranza—through his attorney—had informed Tminus10 Partners that he was canceling the festival. There was no explanation given as to why the cancelation was taking place. He just simply cancelled the event and that was it. The musicians who turned down other work and made travel plans—some coming from as far as Pennsylvania—were given no answers by Carranza who put Tminus10 Partners in a very tough position to explain the abrupt decision. In addition, I have heard from many of our readers about their intent to travel to Harvard and attend the festival, who upon hearing of the cancelation, had to change their plans as well. When asked to comment for this column, Carranza has been unable to be reached.
To their credit, Tminus10 Partners has done everything in their power to make things right with the artists who were affected by the cancellation. They fortunately had contracts in place between Plum Tree National and Carranza and are currently in litigation to try to recoup production costs and payments for the artists.
Chicago Jazz Magazine would like to send our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this might have caused our readers who where planning on attending the festival. It is unfortunate that something like this happened and Chicago Jazz Magazine regrets being involved with Plum Tree National and its ownership.